tv Morning Joe MSNBC December 17, 2012 3:00am-6:00am PST
went to newtown, connecticut, to try to put into words the unspeakable events of last friday. >> this is our first task. caring for our children. it's our first job. if we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. that's how, as a society, we will be judged. >> 26 people were killed in the massacre at sandy hook elementary school. six adults including 29-year-old rachel davino who dressed up in costume and broke out in song to help her students learn. and ann marie murphy whose parents say shield some of her students from the hail of bullets. full-time substitute teacher lauren russo dreamed as a little girl of becoming a teacher, even making a set of dolls her first classroom of students. mary was the school psychologist
who for years helped children deal with life's terrible challenges. when the first shots were fired, she and school principal dawn hochsprung quickly headed toward the danger. the two women reportedly lunged at the gunman and died trying to overtake him. there was also 27-year-old teacher vickie lee soto who died trying to protect her students. >> their father, carlos, was up the other night identifying vickie's body and was just told kind of how she was found, protecting her kids, doing instinctively what she knew to do, protecting her children. >> the gunman's mother, nancy lanza, was the first victim last friday, shot by her own son in their own home. and the killer himself, adam lanza, whose mental health and motive in this massacre will be debated for years to come. but nothing will bring back the babies. 20 first graders murdered in a
terrifying two minutes as lanza shot up the school with two pistols and a semi-automatic assault-style rifle, all registered and purchased legally in his mother's name. all of the children were first graders. richmond and allison wyatt were both just 6 years old. so excited about christmas, charlotte bacon was already wearing her new pink dress and boots that her parents bought her for the holidays. daniel barden was 7. he was on the swim team and played soccer. 6-year-old olivia engel had a creative streak and was a great big sister to her baby brother. josephine gay just turned 7 last tuesday. anna marquez-greene and her family moved to sandy hook two months ago, choosing the school for its good reputation. this is home video of anna singing with her brother last summer.
♪ god watch over us ♪ amen >> reporter: dylan hockley was also 6. he loved the trampoline in his backyard. and madeline hsu. catherine hubbard. her middle name was violet. chase kowalski played baseball outside with his dad. jesse lewis learning to ride horses. james mattioli known for his smile. grace mcdonnell who was 7 went every morning to the bus stop with her mom. emelie parker of 6 who was a budding artist who always carried around markers and pencils. jack pinto already at 6 years
old already had a team, the giants and a hero, star wide receiver victor cruz. noah pozner has a twin sister, ariel, who was assigned to a different classroom and survived. noah called her his best friend. caroline previdi played soccer and hide and seek. while jessica rekos as described by her parents for the little ceo for the way she thought out and planned everything. 6-year-old benjamin wheeler's family moved from queens, new york, to newtown, connecticut, for its promise of grassy lawns and good schools. that promise has been shattered. and last night newtown prayed with the help of the president. but even he knows there is no solace, no answers right now, just pain. and questions and prayers for the lost. >> let the little children come to me, jesus said. and do not hinder them.
us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory. >> and good morning. joe will have a special message on the recent events coming up. but first, a look at where things stand today. we're learning new details about the time line of friday's devastating attack. police say the gunman, 20-year-old adam lanza was armed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. and his rampage could have been worse had police not closed in quickly. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams has more on the investigation now. >> reporter: the horrifying sequence officials say begins friday morning. they don't know what time when adam lanza takes hundreds of rounds of ammunition and four firearms from his gun-enthusiast mother and uses one of them to kill her, nancy lanza. shooting her several times perhaps as she lay sleeping. before leaving, they say he damages his computer. investigators are now trying to
retrieve what was stored. just before 9:30, he loads the guns and ammunition into his mother's car and drives the roughly five miles to sandy hook elementary. it's a place he knows, officials say, from his childhood. though why he goes there to kill remains unanswered. >> he had a relationship to the school, had attended there. at least that's what i'm led to believe. but bei don't understayond thatt know. >> reporter: he's carrying two handguns and a bushmaster ar-15-style rifle with several high-capacity magazines, each able to hold 30 rounds. the school door is locked, state officials say. so adam lanza blasts his way in with the rifle, shattering a window. the sound of the shots alarms principal dawn hochsprung and school psychologist mary sherlach who come running. they are immediately killed. lanza, investigators say, turns left, away from the school auditorium, toward the kindergarten and first grade
classrooms. he passes one room and heads to the classroom of substitute teacher lauren rousseau. she and the 14 children inside are shot and killed. from there, he heads to victoria soto's classroom. she and six children inside are shot and killed, but seven others hidden by their teacher in a closet are spared. two other teachers, rachel and anne-marie are also killed. the horror is over in ten minutes, officials believe. lanza shoots himself in the head as police storm in. >> the bushmaster was used, as was explained yesterday, in the school in its entirety, and the handgun was used to take his own life. >> today as a nation we grieve, and today we as a people feel helpless. helpless to stop these random acts of violence that seem to be getting less random by the day. you know, it may be the geographic proximity of newtown to my hometown or the fact that my children's ages average those
of the 20 young children tragically killed on friday. but the fact that my second son has asbergers or the fact that too many other facts associated with friday's nightmare strike so close to home. for me, just like for you, there is no escaping the horrors visited upon those children and teachers at sandy hook. the events that occurred in a short, violent outburst on friday, december 14th, 2012, were so evil that no words that i know of have yet been invented to sufficiently describe the horror experienced by 20 precious first grade students. their heroic principal, their anguished parents or the shocked new england town that will never be the same. there's no way to capture the final moments of these children's short lives or the loss and the helplessness their
parents have to feel today. there's nothing they can do. there's nothing any of us can do to ease the pain this morning or to cause those children to run back into the loving arms of their family members this christmas season. soon we are going to be watching the burials of these babies. we will hold their parents up in prayer, and we will hold our own children tighter as we thank god every afternoon, as we watch our children walk off their school bus and into our arms. but every american must know from this day forward, nothing can ever be the same again. we've said this before after columbine, after arizona, after aurora, after so many other numbing hours of murder and
massacre. but let this be our true landmark. let newtown be the hour after which in the words of the new testament, we did all we could do to make all things new. politicians can no longer be allowed to defend the status quo. they must instead be forced to defend our children. parents can no longer take no for an answer from washington when the topic turns to protecting our children. the violence we see spreading from shopping malls in oregon to movie theaters in colorado to college campuses in virginia to elementary schools in connecticut. it's being spawned by the toxic brew of a violent popular culture, a growing mental health crisis, and the proliferation of combat-styled weapons. though entrenched special interests are going to try to muddy the cause in the coming
days, the cause of this sickening mass shooting like the others is no longer a mystery to common-sense americans, and blessedly, there are more common-sense americans than there are special interests, even if it doesn't always seem that way. i say good luck to the gun lobbyist. good luck to the hollywood lawyer who tries to blunt the righteous anger of millions of parents by hiding behind twisted readings of our bill of rights. our government rightly obsesses day and night on how to prevent the next 9/11 from being launched from a cave in afghanistan or a training base in yemen, but perhaps, just perhaps, now is the time they start obsessing on how to stop the next attack on a movie theater or in a shopping mall or on a college campus or in our children's first grade classes. the battle we now must fight and the battle we have to win is for
the safety and the sanity of your children and mine. and that is a war at home that we must win. of course, this is not all about guns. it's not all about violent movies. it's not all about video games. but we can no longer allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good in this case. and we must not excuse total inaction by arguing that no single action can solve the problem that will save our children. you know me. i am a conservative republican who received the nra's highest ratings over four terms in congress. i saw this debate over guns as a powerful symbolic struggle between individual rights and government control. and you know what? in the years after waco and ruby ridge, the symbolism of that debate seemed even more powerful to me.
but the symbols of that ideological struggle, they've been shattered by the harvest's own from violent, mind-numbing video games and gruesome hollywood movies that dangerously desensitize those who struggle with mental health challenges. and then add in military-styled weapons and high-capacity magazines to that equation, and tragedy can never be too far behind. you know, there's no easy ideological way forward. if it were only that simple as to blame hollywood or the nra or insufficient funding for mental health, then our task would be completed in no time. but i come to you this morning with a heavy heart and no easy answers. still, i've spent the past few days grasping for solutions and struggling for answers. while daring to question my own long-held belief on these subjects. i've always taken a
libertarian's approach to hollywood's first amendment rights and gun collectors' second amendment rights, and i stood by those libertarian beliefs after columbine, after aurora, and after arizona. those young men who slaughtered innocents were crazy, after all. and they would have found another way to kill their victims if their guns of choice were not available. but last friday, a chilling thought crossed my mind as i saw the times square ticker over abc spit out news of yet another tragic shooting and yet another tortured town by yet another twisted son of that community. how could i know that within seconds of reading that scrolling headline that the shooter would be an isolated middle-class white male who spent his days on his computer playing violent video games. how did i know that it was far more likely that he had a mental condition than a rational motive? and how did i know the end of
the story before the real reporting even began? i knew the ending of this story because we've all seen it too often. i knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that i want, that i demand for my children. friday changed everything. it must change everything. we all must begin anew and demand that washington's old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. entertainment moguls don't have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across america. and our bill of rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-styled, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want. it is time for congress to put
children before deadly dogmas. it's time for politicians to start focusing more on protecting our school yards than putting together their next fund-raiser. it's time for washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas while we're losing the war at home. we've already given up too much ground across america. we've already seen too many shopping malls, too many movie theaters and too many college campuses. we must give no more ground. abraham lincoln once said of this great and powerful nation, "from whence shall we expect the approach of danger? will some transatlantic giant crush up in a blow? never. all the armies of europe and asia could not by force take a drink from the ohio river or make a track on the blue ridge
in the trial of a thousand years. no, if destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and its finisher. as a nation of free men, we will live forever or die by suicide." for the sake of my four children and yours, i choose life, and i choose change. it's time to turn over the tables inside the temple. and for the sake of our children, we must do what's right. and for the sake of this great nation that we love, let's pray to god that we do. and coming up, we have connecticut senator richard blumenthal who will join us. he swent 30 years working in law enforcement in connecticut before he joined the u.s. senate. he is also a father of four, like joe. he joins us this morning with his unique perspective on the events in newtown. also ahead this morning, we'll hear from some of the teachers who were inside sandy hook
share "just right." the share everything plan. shareable data across 10 devices with unlimited talk and text. hurry in for a droid incredible 4g lte by htc for $49.99. we find comfort reflecting on the incredible person that emilie was and how much lives that she was able to touch in her short time here on earth. emilie was bright, creative and very loving. emilie was always willing to try new things, other than food. she loved to use her talents to touch the lives of everyone that she came into contact with. she was an exceptional artist, and she always carried around her markers and pencils so that she never missed an opportunity to draw a picture or make a card
for those around her. i can't count the number of times emilie noticed someone feeling sad or frustrated and would rush to find a piece of paper to draw them a picture or to write them an encouraging note. >> that was the father of 6-year-old emilie parker, one of the 20 children murdered in friday's elementary school massacre in newtown, connecticut. every paper across the country and around the world has an item on the shooting in newtown. here are some of this morning's headlines. "the hartford courant." "the new york times," president obama in connecticut last night, these tragedies must end. "the orlando sentinel." president obama, we bear a responsibility for every child. let's go to "the new hampshire union leader." president obama surely we can do
better." "usa today," before friday, newtown, connecticut, was known as the headquarters of the national shooting sports foundation, that's three miles away from the shooting. now it's emerged as the center of the gun control debate. "the austin american statesman," gunman adam lanza carried hundreds of rounds, reportedly enough to kill every child in the school. "the tampa tribune," schools around the country including connecticut and some near tampa will have more security on hand when school opens this morning. "the oregonian." are they with the angels? how do parents begin to answer questions their children ask about what happened to the young victims of sandy hook? and yesterday's "chicago tribune." can we make our schools any safer? joining us now, of course, willie geist. and willie, you were in newtown on saturday. i was a reporter in the state of connecticut for more than ten years and spent time in newtown. this is a place you go to get away from things, to get away
from things like this. >> yeah. people from new york city move there because it's safe, because it's removed from all the dangers of urban america. joe, i know you were there. i got there friday. you pull in, and it's been said many times over the last few days, but it's hard to overstate how quintessentially new england this place is. >> it's perfect. >> it's perfect. it's perfect. little shops. a brook that goes through the town. but then when you go over a hill just on the other side, a quarter mile away from the little village of sandy hook, the worst thing imaginable happened. i got there on friday evening. you go up to where the live television locations are, and you come upon first a firehouse which has become very familiar here. a firehouse where kids were rushed a few hundred feet away from the school. and where parent s went to see whether or not their kids were there, whether or not they were alive. there was some incredible reunions there where people were relieved to find their children. and then as we herd slard slowl
by one, there was a group of 20 parents standing there who were told their kids were not coming out. that happened right in that firehouse full of volunteer firefighters who could never have prepared for anything like this. i talked to one of them who said they won't even show you pictures like this in training. they had to rush in volunteers and encounter the most horrific scene they would ever see in their lives. >> oh, my god. talk about the night, willie, about being outside the school when the parents and everyone around there knew those children were still in the school and that everybody was just silent, weeping, everybody. no one said a word. talk about them. >> well, when you walk up toward the school, it was a cold night. there were generators running with lights on the firehouse, lights in the school parking lot
because it was a crime scene. but it doesn't hit you watching on tv the way it hits you standing outside that school, knowing that there were 20 bodies in there of children. there were the bodies of 6 victims, 6 teachers and principals and school psychologists. it was like a holy site. it was like walking up to -- i don't want to say a graveyard, but somewhere where there's something so awful had happened, and there was so much sweetness in those children, and they were still laying in there. and everyone outside was respectful and quiet. and mostly the only sounds you heard were generators and weeping of people. i went up to -- there's a little general store in town with, you know, we've all seen them, these little candy jars, right, at the counter. and i was talking to the woman who worked behind the counter. and she was obviously emotional. and she said, you know, little kids come in here after school to get candy. and i'm worried that a lot of my customers aren't going to be back.
>> yesterday morning early, i drove up there. i was telling mika, like you said, it was a quintessential new england town, just a little nook at the bottom of the hill. and she said oh, my god. she remembered the candy store. >> yeah. >> and i said immediately, you know these kids. you just know this is where they lived. i've got to tell you, willie, it's one of those rare moments where you see everything in slow motion. i came down the hill. it was early. i saw the police officers guarding the hill. i saw photographers all around. it was more horrific than the most frightening stephen king novel. it was just a nightmare. >> the word i kept hearing from people who lived there was "violation." this was such a bubble, such a little corner of connecticut, such a safe place for them.
and to have this kind of thing visited upon them, to have this man come in and shatter their world, not just their town, but their world. there is a woman who lives two houses away from the school. her children are older now but went to sandy hook elementary, cut through the back woods to go through. she talked about driving through that parking lot, about going to all her son's baseball games at that school. all she said she ever heard was the sound of laughter coming through the woods. and to hear now the sounds of sirens on that friday afternoon, she says things will never be the same. there's a dark cloud over her town. the name newtown and sandy hook will forever be associated with this tragedy. she believes they have to level the school immediately and raise some kind of memorial there. this town is shaken and will be forever. >> the initial shock of what happened and the live coverage, you knew it was bad when you saw the first responders step out of the school and hug. >> yeah.
>> because of what they had seen, and they're trained. it's just the worst feeling ever. >> there are -- you're right. this will forever shatter this community. there are signs all over on bed sheets. and i know you saw them. not only around sandy hook and newtown but all across western connecticut, "pray for newtown." and right now we're helpless. that's all we can do. >> the one -- i don't want to say good -- but the one source of pride from everyone i talked to in newtown was for those teachers. they said in the worst moment, we all hoped we would act the way those teachers did. they did everything right. they did everything they could. they saved lives by locking children in closets. vickie soto telling the gunman, "my kids are not in here." she literally took the bullet to save the lives of some of her students. those teachers are real genuine
heroes. >> psychologist lunging at him, unarmed. >> and you know, we have so often during these tragedies, willie, i know, you know, we try to find the silver lining. there is no silver lining here, but sometimes we hear stories of somebody riding the world trade center down 70 stories or this or that. it's like we're so desperate to hear good news in the midst of these horrors. but you look at what these teachers did, and you look at what the janitor did, and you look at all of these people that gave their lives for these children. they're extraordinary heroes. up next, they were the first people to rush into sandy hook elementary on friday following reports of gunfire. but for the first responders who as arrived on the scene, it was already too late. we'll share their heart-wrenching stories straight ahead on "morning joe."
that was the scene at last night's vigil in newtown as the first responders who entered the auditorium received a standing ovation after meeting privately with president obama. they were the ones who rushed to the school that day, witnessing a scene that has left them struggling to cope. nbc's miguel almaguer has more on their part of the story. >> reporter: as a community grieves for the victims, first responders also cope with the unspeakable loss. the men and women who arrived at sandy hook elementary first who witnessed the carnage and the chaos are suffering, too. >> they saw a horrific scene. they saw death and devastation that no one wants to encounter in their lifetime and in their career. >> reporter: it all unfolded so quickly. responding within minutes, chris was inside the school and could hear police closing in. >> we still were all in panic. we were still praying and just hoping and waiting for sirens. >> reporter: the quick response running towards the gunfire
saved countless young lives. >> there was an immense amount of bravery, there's no question about that. >> reporter: what veteran police officers witnessed here could haunt them forever. sergeant a.j.deandrea was one of the first officers to arrive at columbine. >> there is definitely anger towards the perpetrator and what just happened, definitely sadness for the victims, for the victims' families. >> reporter: in this tight-knit town where police, firefighters and neighbors all grieve together, there is both heartache and help. karen is a grief counselor in newtown. >> it is possible for them to heal, but this has been an ever-changing life event. it will not be the same for anybody. >> reporter: first responders will never forget this tragedy. the victims could have been their children. the families who lost so much are their neighbors. >> this is forever in our memory bank, forever touched, forever touched. >> reporter: grief shared by an
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but elementary schoolchildren, kindergarteners, are not of the world. they are fragile, delicate, not nearly ready for the world, but the world brought its madness to them friday. and a nation wept as it never quite had when the guns roared in aurora or even in the hallways of columbine." we'll go to "the hartford courant" which has many letters from people. "heroism in newtown," looking at the teachers and administrators who took action. "make no mistake, every one of these people expected to die, and yet their first priority, indeed, their only priority, was to protect their students. not one of them ran off and left their kids, not one of them did this because it was in their contracts, because they had to get their kids to pass standardized tests, or because of union agreements." also from "the hartford courant, the trigger: troubled mind." we talk about mental illness that could be leading to
situations like this. "never in my wildest dream did i think my home state of connecticut would be thrust onto the public stage in such a shocking and unimaginable way. another school massacre. and while we may still feel the chill of lives lost to other incidences of gun violence, this one seems to cut so deeply into the bone. 20 children all under the age of 10 killed. to call this moment a tragedy seems inadequate." and we have "usa today" dealing with guns and mental illness, looking at both of the big issues that will certainly cause some debate in the days to come. "connecticut has an estimated 140,000 residents with severe mental illnesses. about half are not getting any treatment. why? between 2005 and 2007, the state closed 17% of its public hospital beds for treating psychiatric disorders. what happened to the patients who used to get help in those facilities? in addition to debating gun control, we need to ask why our mental health system is failing us." and then on to the gun control
debate. "wall street journal, breaking the gun control stalemate." "those in favor of gun rights feel that gun-control advocates are using the deranged actions of a few as a pretext to erode the right to bear arms. gun-control advocates, meanwhile, are completely frustrated with congress's unwillingness to strengthen gun laws, despite the mounting body count over the years. this stalemate can be broken but only if both sides retreat slightly instead of standing their ground." >> and you know, mika, that is the tone that a "new york post" editorial over the weekend gave. the conservative "new york post" writes of the sandy hook horror. "we know that guns don't kill, people do. but we also know that it's extremely difficult to justify the presence of high-volume-of fire, military-style weaponry in modern society. yes, those who would disarm america must contend with the constitution. but now those who defend the
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♪ silent night holy night ♪ ♪ all is calm all is bright ♪ ♪ round yon virgin mother and child ♪ ♪ holy infant so tender and mild ♪ ♪ sleep in heavenly peace sleep in heavenly peace ♪ that was how producers of "saturday night live" decided to pay tribute to the shooting tragedy, opening the show with the new york city children's chorus singing "silent night" instead of their normal comedy
sketch. >> and wile hile so many of us so deeply impacted by friday's events, of course those at the center of the tragedy are only beginning to come to grips with what transpired. >> some of the teachers inside sandy hook are sharing their stories of what happened. here's what they told nbc's matt lauer. >> i heard what sounded like a popping sound. and then some noises coming over the loudspeaker sounded like weeping noises. and really wasn't sure what was going on at that point. and then realized that we were in some sort of a situation. so i gathered my class over to my coat closet area, which is what we practice in our lockdown and had them sit on the floor. i immediately locked the classroom door. as i was doing this, i was reassuring them, "it's okay, everything's fine. we'll be okay."
>> were they very upset? >> they did continue to cry, but they were able to hold it together. they were all amazing. they were quiet when i needed them to be, and they held each other. and they were perfect. they were perfect. >> we walked down the hall, and we went out an exit door of the building. i did pass some blood on the floor, which wasn't a lot, but hopefully the children didn't see it. i kept telling them to look up and look away and look this way. so we followed one another, and we went out of the building, and we walked the sidewalk down by the soccer fields to the firehouse. >> what was that scene like? >> the parents were very upset. and parents came and picked up their kids and hugged them and kissed them and held their child. >> you're talking about a time period here that was pure chaos. >> oh, yes. >> and yet now you've had a
chance to understand the scope of what happened. how do you get your arms around it, connie? >> i'm not sure yet. it seems though -- the expression i'll take it one day at a time has become i'll take this one minute at a time. >> so how do you go back to school? how do you welcome these students back? how do you get them to trust again? >> we continue to stay as a unit. we are a very strong staff. we are a very strong community at sandy hook school. we have amazing teachers, amazing leaders, amazing parents. we know how to operate. this has been a very difficult situation. we're going to pick up the pieces somehow. we're going to stick together. and in time, we'll heal. and we'll be right back with mike barnicle and jon meacham. and later, connecticut senator richard blumenthal. stay with us.
>> for a half hour every day, i work in the lunchroom with those first graders. and i know 15 of them very well. you know, i tell them to sit on their bottoms, and i give them forks, and i hear about their loose teeth and i hear about their playdates. and that's what's on my mind. i am very, very sad for their parents. they were all wonderful, wonderful kids. they didn't deserve this. [ male announcer ] families grow up
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since i've been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings. the fourth time we've hugged survivors, the fourth time we've consoled the families of victims. and in between there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children in small towns and in big cities all across america, victims who much of the time their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. we can't tolerate this anymore. these tragedies must end. and to end them, we must change.
>> that was president obama last night in newtown, connecticut, speaking at a vigil for the 20 children and 6 adults gunned down on friday at sandy hook elementary school. we are learning new details this morning about the shooting rampage there. and the young man who inflicted so much damage before taking his own life. welcome back to "morning joe." joining us on set this hour, we have mike barnicle and john heilemann. and in nashville, jon meacham joins us. gentlemen, thanks for joining the conversation this morning. we're taking it slow today. >> yeah, we are. >> easing into all the inevitable debates that will follow. but here they will stay a conversation. >> they will. there are several debates that we have to have. and i know all of you saw, as the news was breaking, the things that were saying online, both sides were saying online, even before we knew how these kids were. and it's so easy for ideologues on both sides to cling one thing
and say, this is the cause of the problem. it's not that easy. mike, we've got the gun issue. it's just got to be addressed. the "new york post" is saying it. a lot of other conservatives are going to be saying it in the days and weeks to come. we've had a mental health crisis. how is it -- >> it's equally as grave. >> -- how is it -- well, of course, it is, yeah. and it is. and how is it that we know usually when something like this happens, what the profile of the shooter is going to be? and then you have -- i haven't heard this as much, but i'm going to tell you as a father of two older boys, you've got video game violence. you've got hollywood violence that desensitizes. it creates a culture of violence
that desensitizes those that don't have guardrails. and i haven't heard that talked about. a kid -- this kid, so many other kids across america see how many violent images per day sitting in front of their tv screens playing video games, watching dvds, watching movies. >> they're simulators on how to commit acts of murder. >> and it is so graphic and so real. we have created a culture of violence that has to be addressed. just got to. >> all of that is certainly part and parcel of what we're dealing with today as a nation, joe. i ran into just a stunning statistic over the weekend. and it takes a while for it to settle in. and it is this. that since martin luther king and robert f. kennedy were shot and killed in the spring of
1968, more than 1 million americans have been shot to death. more than 1 million americans have been shot to death. part of the problem might be in the way we have addressed this issue over the decades, the phrase employed is always "gun control." and maybe it's time to reinforce the idea, the thought, the reality, no one is coming for your gun. but maybe we should talk about gun sense. it makes no sense for someone of any age to be able to walk out of a store no matter what kind of a gun shop it is with an assault weapon, 160 rounds per second, 10 rounds per second as in the case of the bushmaster that was used over the weekend in connecticut. that makes no sense. it makes no sense for people to be allowed to have those kinds of weapons. and then you get into the other aspects that you just mentioned.
it appears from the reporting thus far that the shooter in this case had some sort of support system in the schools that he attended sparsely, the support systems where clearly he didn't take advantage of them. clearly there were huge problems in that family structure. but mental health certainly has to be addressed. why is it easier in this country, in the united states of america, in the 21st century, why is it easier to be able to purchase a handgun than it is to get an appointment with a psychiatrist? what is wrong with us? i mean, the president was so spot on last night. his remarks were so spot on in terms of who we are and what we're dealing with that we should replay that speech several times each day until something is done. >> ask ourselves the questions, what kind of society do we want to be, and why don't we want a
society that, like with other things, speed limits, for example, as the mayor pointed out on "meet the press" yesterday, mayor bloomberg, our society has guideposts. those guideposts won't stop that one person, joe, but it gives us a sense of who we want to be. and when it comes to guns, we don't seem to have that. >> again, obviously, i agree based on what i said earlier this morning. but those guideposts also involve mental health. they also involve -- and i'm going to keep saying it -- because, again, i've seen it with my sons. i've seen it with their friends. and i understand, any parent that doesn't have young boys that haven't seen thousands of simulated acts of murder in front of their eyes every day by playing, you know, one war game after another, or playing grand theft auto, or playing gears of
war or guns of war or whatever, you cannot have a young male from the time he is 7 or 8 years old seeing one simulated act of murder after another simulated act of murder after another simulated act of murder after another simulated act of murder over weeks and months and years and not have that part of the conversation we have to have. >> totally. >> along with guns. along with military-style semi-automatic assault weapons with these just grotesque, grotesque magazines that allow you to shoot dozens of bullets per second at civilians. does anybody think -- forget about shooting ducks -- can
somebody give me an example of how one of these weapons was required to save their family from an intruder? just one example! i want to see one. nobody's coming for the guns, mike, you're right. and nobody's been a bigger defender of americans' right to protect themselves than me. but who needs the type of semi-automatic assault weapon that is used hunting the taliban, as willie said, in afghanistan and pakistan to protect their family's home? >> i can give you a list of guns you can go out and purchase today, joe. m-82, 50 caliber, electric mini-gun, 166 rounds per second. you can go buy one. you can go buy one this morning. an ak-47 that you can use in afghanistan. you can use the other two in afghanistan, too. a glock 23 semi-automatic. you can get 30 rounds off in
less than ten seconds. boom, boom, boom, boom. you can go get the bushmaster m-4. you can buy those today. >> you can buy those today and they've been purchased and they're out there. so to an extent, we have to have a realistic conversation about how you put this genie back in the bottle, and i don't think it's necessarily that possible. >> it's not going to be easy. australia has done it. they certainly offer a good guidepost. they have done it. but i'll tell you what, it's not going to work. if we just sit here and focus on one part of this problem. it's not going to work in a vacuum. we're going to have to take a comprehensive approach that looks at guns, our violent culture where people are making more money from that, then it's all about money. it's all about money. think about the money the gun manufacturers are making. think about the money that hollywood makes. think about the money that these video game makers are making. and think about the money our
politicians think they're saving by slashing mental health counseling year after year after year. >> jon meacham in nashville, to an extent when you hear what joe listed just now, this is an incredibly huge opportunity for the president to shape history, but also such a difficult task that the chances of making an impact could drown in the political debates to come. is there a possibility, though, that this could be a pivotal turning point? >> it certainly is. i think you're right. i think that culture matters, but we can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. and these things are going to be decided on the margins. the factors that go into each of these tragedies are immensely complex. i'm a gun owner who is the first guy to say we should not be selling ar-15s. we should not be selling guns that allow people to play act as
though they're soldiers with one critical difference, they're not play acting because of those images you're showing of those remarkable children who have been massacred, the has kemassa innocence has no meaning. it doesn't apply to this. and it's time -- beyond time for everyone to give up their reflective positions on this. it's not all about guns, but it's certainly about guns. it's not all about culture, but it's certainly about culture. who among us who is even remotely attached to this, which means if we are human, would not want to do all we could to try to improve the situation to a level where it simply becomes more difficult for this to happen again and again and again. and i think if connecticut can be what president johnson said about selma and civil rights.
you know, there are moments where there are turning points. lexington and concord, appomattox, selma. it should have been columbine. it should have been aurora. it should have been all sorts of moments. but if this is one where we actually focus our attention and the vested interests who think their vested interest is in protecting some form of the status quo, they're wrong. but if they think that and they can be shaken from it, then the rest of us who i think are somewhere in the middle on a lot of these issues have to maintain the focus. and that's the one thing i would say that i think's so important is in this wave of grief, in this wave of revulsion, in this wave of enormous sentiment at these children, i have three children exactly in this range, in these ages, and we just have to maintain focus beyond the emotion. and that's where politics -- that's where policy should come in. >> john heilemann, with all that
said, the brady campaign rates connecticut as having the fifth toughest gun laws in the united states of america. there are something like 35 semi-automatic and automatic weapons that you cannot buy under their assault weapons ban. unfortunately, the rifle that was used on friday is not one of them. there's an extensive waiting-day period. this young man reportedly was turned away at a dick's sporting goods because he didn't want to go through the background check. point being, they do have tough laws. the school did everything right. they locked their doors. they didn't let the man in. this was almost a best-case scenario, and yet this guy still got through and did what he did. >> well, as the president said yesterday, there is no set of laws that are going to ever be able to stop senseless acts of violence and mayhem. there's no solution to this problem. as jon meacham just said, it's a matter of doing things on the margins. it's about trying to make these things less likely rather than more likely. the connecticut law is a decent law.
it's still a really weak law compared to what it could be. and it's made weaker still by the absence of federal enforcement which is what a lot of states say about the assault weapons bans they have in their state which is without a federal backing mechanism that keeps guns from trafficking across state lines, those laws are largely too close on that front. you know, one of the craziest things that we always have when we talk about this is the classic gun lobby answer of guns don't kill people. people kill people. i keep referring to various other people's words today as joe points out, what's wrong with that statement is it's a false binary. guns kill people and people kill people. you can't answer the question with one thing or the other. i think the president -- there are existing laws. mayor bloomberg pointed out yesterday, 77,000 people accused of lying on their gun permit applications. we don't enforce that law. why don't we enforce that law as a first step? it's already on the books. there are existing piece of legislation on assault weapons and on magazines, on multiple
magazine clips. why don't we try to get back into that business? and then i'd say one other thing which is the other -- the person who most wisely observed about this, guns don't kill people. people don't kill people. bullets kill people. you know, maybe the most admired united states senator in the last 100 years, pat moynihan, went to his grave advocating the notion that the only solution to this, because of the fact that there are 200 we'res worth of weapons already out there in america, and we can't make those go away, there's only about a three or four-year supply of ammunition out there in america. so by taxing ammunition at a much higher level, again, you can't solve this problem with any one thing, but moynihan's contention was make all these armor-piercing bullets -- >> that's tangible. >> put a $5,000 tax on the only money to put money into it actually have a reason to do it. >> armor-piercing bullets. i wonder who needs those to protect their families. >> or to shoot a deer.
>> or to shoot a deer. mike, i thought it was telling yesterday, "meet the press" reached out to 31 senators who consider themselves pro-gun, who the nra identified as pro-gun, and not one of them would come on the show. we reached out to dozens of pro-gun lawmakers. we did not get them on the show. i think senator manchin's coming on. he's pro-gun. but i wonder, though, mike, do you think -- do you think just maybe we may get a real debate here? do you think this may be the moment to get a real debate on saving our children? >> joe, i am an eternal optimist on most issues.
we have seen the assassinations of a president of the united states, of martin luther king, of robert f. kennedy, attempted assassination of two other presidents, and very little has happened in terms of gun legislation. but this is different. i think this might result in a cultural assault on the universe of indifference that has always surrounded this issue. aurora happens. columbine happens. and then we go shopping. and it recedes into memory. but this, i would submit, is different because of three numbers. 20, 6 and 7. the number of children killed and their ages. they were 6 and 7. this could be different because of the season in which they died. because each and every one of us with children, we very rarely carry pictures of 17 and 18-year-olds in our wallet or in
our minds. but we carry a picture of a 6-year-old at christmas. and we carry the memory of the 7-year-old coming down the steps because he or she believed in santa. well, now you and i, all of us, have to believe that this country can march toward common sense. not gun control, gun sense because, again, it makes no sense for people to own these assault weapons. none whatsoever. >> you talk about the season. yesterday morning i woke up early. i wake up early on the weekends as well. some mornings i go out and drive across the connecticut countryside. and so yesterday i got up at 3:30. i couldn't sleep. and i drove up to sandy hook. and saw what happened up there and was shaken, just shaken driving through that community. and then drove home. and i went to church. we kept the kids at home because
we knew that this would be brought up. we kept the tvs off all weekend because we didn't want our 4 and 9-year-old to see this. we wanted to control what was said. and i sat up in the balcony, and i looked down at all the people in church. and i looked at their faces. it really was as if they were attending their own child's funeral. their eyes were red, watering. you know, the minister said something thatmike sparked in my memory in talking about the season and said that every time we mention baby jesus, every time we talk about the miracle of this birth, as we light the advent candle, as we try to celebrate christmas, we are tugged the opposite direction, toward tragedy.
it is impossible to mention baby jesus without your mind immediately going back and thinking of those young children. >> and for that reason -- >> seeing their faces. and i think mike has a point. i think the season in which this happened is going, i think, to cause an even more intense reaction to this tragedy. >> you mentioned going to newtown yesterday, just three miles from where you were, the scene of the tragedy, is the location of the national shooting sports foundation which members include 7,000 manufacturers, distributors and gun retailers. just to give you a sense of the parallel universe we're living in. joining us now from washington, nbc news justice correspondent, pete williams, with the latest on the investigation into the shooting. pete, what do we know as of this point? >> well, we know a fair amount about how it happened inside the school and exactly what the man
who committed these shootings, 20-year-old adam lanza had with him when he went into the school. his mother, as you've noted, was a gun enthusiast. she had a number of firearms at home. he shot her in the morning, shot her several times. she was probably in bed at the time. then he took four of her guns, put them in the car, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, drove to the school. and these were the three weapons that he carried into the school. actually, it's a .10 millimeter glock, a .9 millimeter sig sauer and then the weapon you've been talking about, the bushmaster ar-15 military-style weapon. if you look at the magazine that's in that weapon, you see that it can carry -- it's a large magazine -- it can carry up to 30 rounds. and the police now tell us that he had several of those high-capacity magazines and several magazines for the two handguns. so he entered the school with
all of that firepower. he shot his way into the school. to get in, the door was locked. he had to be buzzed in. the police now believe that he shattered a window next to the door, fired at it with the rifle. that's how he got in. they say that all of the people who were shot were shot several times. everyone who was shot inside the building, all of his victims were shot with the bushmaster rifle. only when he saw and heard the police running down the hall toward him did this end when the police say he used one of the handguns to shoot himself. ending this killing spree. so it's apparent that if the police hadn't gotten there, this could have gone on. >> hey, pete, it's willie. when we spoke on saturday, there were some reports that this young man had been at the school a couple days prior, gotten into some kind of confrontation with officials at the school, which would give us the beginning, perhaps, of some kind of motive
here. do we know anything else about that this morning? >> well, first of all, he did have a connection to this school. he went to this school as a child. now, the initial reports were that his mother had been a teacher there. the school officials tell us they have no record of that. but nonetheless, many of her, his mother, nancy, many of her relatives say that she did some volunteering at the school. if that's the case, there's no record of it. but there is at least some connection from his childhood there. as to the altercation, we've been told by several law enforcement officials that there was some kind of altercation at the school on thursday. what they're trying to find out is whether that was adam lanza or not. the last i checked, they hadn't confirmed that it was him. it was a lead that they were investigating. >> all right. pete williams, thank you very much. >> you bet. still ahead, we have senator joe manchin who will join us on set.
also, msnbc's chris jansing live from newtown with how that community is coping. you're watching "morning joe." let the little children come to me, jesus said, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. charlotte, daniel, olivia, josephine, ana, dylan, madeline, catherine, chase, jesse, james, grace, emilie, jack, noah, caroline, jessica, benjamin,
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with us now, democratic senator from west virginia, senator joe manchin. senator, we were talking -- you're from west virginia. you've always been pro-gun. i've always been pro-gun. i know a lot of nra members in my district and i know a lot of nra members in west virginia this morning are saying, okay, something's got to be done here. >> joe, i was raised in the culture in west virginia like you were in northwest florida, you know, where hunting and learn how to use guns and use them responsibly and safe. >> right. >> i can honestly say, i've gone deer hunting. i just came from my family deer hunting. i've never had more than three shells in the clip.
sometimes you don't get more than one shot anyway at a deer. just common sense. it's time -- it's time to move beyond rhetoric. we need to sit down and have a common-sense discussion and move in a reasonable way. and i think that everyone -- i said the second promise for all that we give for children, the five promises of colin powell, the second promise, my wife and i support wholeheartedly is that every child should have a safe place in their life. thinking that the school sometimes might be the only safe haven a child has, and now that's been taken away. i think -- and i've listened to all of you speaking this morning. and mike, i think you're right on, this has changed the dialogue, and it should move beyond dialogue. we need action. >> as an nra member, as a united states senator, as someone who hunts, we don't want to vilify hunters or gun owners. >> no. and the second amendment neither. >> so give us a starting point where you think progress could be made, progress that would result in american citizens being unable to go in and buy an
ak-47. >> for anybody to say they don't want -- dianne feinstein, who is a beautiful person, and she said she's going to reintroduce the bill. anyone saying they don't want to talk and sit down and have that type of dialogue is wrong. anybody that says that when chuck schumer says we shouldn't have more than ten rounds in a clip, you know, they would be wrong to say that shouldn't be on the table. everything should be on the table. and joe lieberman even took it to the next level, which i appreciate so much, this is bigger than just about the guns. it's about how we treat people with mental illness, how we intervene, how we give them the care they need, how we protect our schools. it's just -- it's just so sad. i can't even imagine the grief and pain. as a parpent and grandparent, i just can't. i can't get my arms around this to think how do we give them comfort? and i was with my family this weekend. you just want to love them and hug them and kiss them.
>> and that's the thing. we can pray for them. right now we can pray for them. we can do everything we can to reach out to newtown and sandy hook, but you know what? the only thing we can do is save the next 20 6-year-olds, save the next 20 7-year-olds. and mika, we do that by talking, figuring this out, getting the conversation moving forward. >> we were trying to talk about this as a family last night because my husband and i -- my husband is an investigative reporter. he was working all weekend. and we were worried that our kids would see us rushing aro d around. and because we have covered so many tough stories, it's our job, and that this perhaps would be desensitizing to them. so we took a moment as a family to try and talk about it. and while we talked about warning signs and mental illness and guns and the tragedy, we were left with nothing else to say to them. because there's just nothing that explains this. and all we could do is say, you know, let's just try and love each other better. there was no more than that. but we're hearing so much from
people in our community because we're in the public eye, and we're hearing about mental health. we're hearing equally as much about video games, violent video games, and we're hearing about guns. are you getting calls from your constituents? are you hearing from people on this? >> i think in west virginia, all our hearts go out to every parent, every affected family, but the bottom line is absolutely. we've got to -- we've got to sit down -- i asked all my friends in the nra, and i'm a proud member and always have been, we need to sit down and move this dialogue to a sensible, reasonable approach to fixing. it's part of it, not all of it, but everything has to be on the table, and i think it will be. and i think you're going to see us go back. we had the financial cliff that we're facing right now. that has to be dealt with immediately. we're going to be here, i think, up until christmas. and we're scheduled to come right back and work up to the 31st to get that fixed. and i think it's a mammoth undertaking, but this is so important. i don't know anybody that doesn't think and feel they're
responsible, whether it be your child or anybody's child in america, a young, innocent child. we should all be responsible to protect. and this has affected everybody. >> senator, i'm glad to hear you say someone who has an "a" rating with the nra is open to the dialogue. what type of assault weapons ban would you be willing to go along with? how far would you go? >> what i want to do is i want to call all our friends in the nra and sit down and have this -- bring them into it. they have to be at the table. we all have to, as a parent and a grandparent move forward. you can't eliminate and say, well, they're going to be over here, so we've got to go this way. i'm telling you, i believe this is the time for all of us to sit down and move in a responsible manner. and i think they will. and i think when you look at it, if dianne's saying that basically assault weapons -- i don't know anyone in the hunting or sporting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. i don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting. i mean, these are things that need to be talked about. >> but senator, the nra has always defended the right to own guns like this, so why would it
be different now? >> what's happened, it's always been to the point once you open it up, pretty soon you'll give up your whole second amendment rights, taking guns away and people not allowing to have guns. that's not what this should be about. millions and millions of people are proud gun owners, and they do it responsibly and by the law. so i think opening up and seeing the massacre of so many innocent children, it's changed. it's changed america. we've never seen this happen. >> because even mayor bloomberg's not calling for a repeal of the second amendment. he's just saying let's have common sense -- and you agree with that, senator? >> i agree. the bottom line is, we're responsible gun owners. i'm a proud outdoorsman, a hunter and like shooting and all that. but like so many americans. this doesn't make sense. >> and willie, of course, the second amendment is in the bill of rights. the united states supreme court overturned washington's total ban several years ago. so americans will have the
right, moving forward, to keep and bear arms, to protect their families, to go hunting. but jon meacham, that doesn't mean that the second amendment or the united states supreme court decision gives them a right to carry around combat-styled weapons that allow them to shoot 30 rounds per second. >> the first amendment isn't absolute either. >> no, it is not. >> you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, and we all give up some limits on our liberty in order to live in a social compact. that's what a republic is. the mayor talked about speed limits. that's the most natural example. but if we can't give as well as take in order to live together, then this is not going to be the last time. under no circumstances. senator, i salute you for your
courage to come out and talk about this, but i want to reiterate willie's question, what is it about this time that will be different? children have been massacred before. children have been massacred by guns that had been eliminated and put away 15 years ago, and that law was allowed to expire. what is it -- help us see how you all move forward at the federal level to do something about this. >> so senator, what makes this time different? >> jon -- and we were sitting here talking -- never before have we seen our babies slaughtered. it's never happened in america that i can recall, ever seeing this type of carnage. anybody -- anybody that lives in america -- anybody that's a proud gun owner, anyone that's a proud member of the nra, they're
also proud parents, they're proud grandparents, they understand, this has changed where we go from here. and to say they won't sit down and look at a responsible path forward, by protecting the rights and the second amendment rights and not villainizing everybody who has been, you know, a law-abiding nra member or law-abiding gun owner, hunter or sportsman, we're not doing that, and we shouldn't be doing that. but not to have a responsible dialogue and have everybody at the table, not just the people you think that would support this, i'm a lifetime member, and i'm willing to sit down and ask all of my colleagues to sit down. >> well, senator, i think it's telling, you're a lifetime member of the nra. as willie said, you had an "a" rating with the nra. i had an "a" rating with the nra. i loved driving around northwest florida, seeing those bumper stickers that said, "support freedom. vote scarborough." i mean, i was a big supporter of
the nra and the right to keep and bear arms and a strong second amendment. and as i explained after waco and ruby ridge, it was symbolic. but today that symbolism has been shattered. and it really has, over the past decade. we've become an increasingly violent culture, violent video games, violent movies, a growing mental health crisis. and it's just created a toxic mix. i'm heartened that you're saying what you're saying, and i know that i'm going to be hearing in the coming days other republicans like myself. other proud members of the nra. proud americans, good americans, good fathers, good mothers, good grandparents. they're going to step forward and do the same thing as you. >> i'm a proud american. i'm a proud defender of freedom. i'm a proud parent. i'm a proud grandparent. i owe a lot more to my children
and my grandchildren. and on that being said, being afraid because of political fallout to say that this makes sense is really the direction we should be as a culture. we should have an america -- i'm going to speak to all my colleagues. i'm going to reach out to all of my friends at the nra. i'll go over and sit down with them. i'll say, how can we take the dialogue to a different level? how can we sit down and make sure we're moving and not be afraid that someone's going to attack our freedoms and our rights and all the culture that we were born and raised with and grew up to do and do it right. >> senator joe manchin, thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you so much, senator. >> thanks, joe. coming up, we're going to talk to chuck todd about the president's speech at last night's memorial service and his call for action. keep it right here on "morning joe." ♪ keep me in your heart for a while ♪ [ male announcer ] families grow up
welcome back. at 43 past the hour. with us now from newtown, connecticut, is host of msnbc's "jansing & co," chris jansing, she's been there since friday shortly after the news broke. chris. >> reporter: hi. i cannot even begin to describe to you the profound sadness that is being felt here. this is going to be a very long week for this community.
today there will be two funerals. one will be for noah pozner, a little boy 6 years old who has a twin sister and another 8-year-old sister. and according to numerous reports in that classroom, he was shot 11 times. jack pinto will be buried today as well. in one church, st. rose catholic church, there will be ten funerals this week. i don't get the impression that at this point a lot of people have been able to think beyond what they're having to deal with in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy. it was announced yesterday that none of those students will be going back to sandy hook elementary. they'll be going to another empty school building in a nearby town. there's already that prospect of that terrible change for those children who loved their school and loved their teachers so much. and i also think that one of the things we saw yesterday when the
president spoke, and talking to people going in, they wanted to make it clear they weren't there to see president obama. they were there to show support for their community. but when he talked about action, when he talked about how things have to change, the people in the audience were nodding in assent, and they feel this so deeply. we've seen it in other tragedies how people try to make something good come of the bad. it would not surprise me -- and you were here -- they felt the sadness here thrks that they would try to take this and somehow channel it into something positive very soon. >> you have to find a way. chris jansing, thank you very much. we'll see you coming up on "jansing & co." at 10:00 a.m. on msnbc. every day will be a slew of reminders of what happened. i was watching an interview with a sunday schoolteacher who had sunday school class yesterday. and one of the children wasn't there. and she didn't know what to do with his name on the attendance
list and broke down. >> and willie, you were up there over the weekend for a couple days. today -- >> the funerals start. ten in one church. there are a few aimages i've heard described, instead of selecting christmas gifts for those kids are picking out coffins for their kids. it kills you. >> willie, you know, i'm curious, did you hear much talk about the story in "the times" the debate over tightening gun regulations in the town that had been going on earlier this year? >> i've got to be honest with you, there wasn't a lot of policy talk where i was on the ground. it was all emotion. it was all about the kids. it was all about the teachers. gun control was happening on tv and in washington, but there it was just about those kids. still ahead, we have senator richard blumenthal of connecticut, a guy that you've known for a long time and covered in connecticut, mika. >> yep. he'll be joining us to tell us
what's going on with his state as they deal with what happened on friday. keep it right here on "morning joe." [ male announcer ] you are a business pro. omnipotent of opportunity. you know how to mix business... with business. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle. and go.
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a live look at the white house with the flag mass. our political director chuck todd, senator joe mansion, west virginia governor and nra lifetime member and long time nra supporter saying come on, enough. you have to come to the table and everyone is going to have to give. is it possible? >> you look at the way washington is acting right now and this week it seems like anything is possible.
whether it's fisk af cliff or anything, this one is different and everything is entering this conversation with a much more open mind perhaps. you know how quickly these things fade so i'm a little skeptical, but we will see. if it's the larger conversation that's had, it's about guns and it's about culture and about hollywood and video games and parental responsibility, if it's the entire conversation that's had, then it's going to be easier -- a lot harder for joe mansions and mitch mcconnell and anyone who has been a pro gun senator to talk away from the conversations. >> of course and john you said earlier and i said earlier, we can't in this case let perfect be the enemy of the good.
we can't have nra lobbyists saying this is just a mental health problem. we can't have hollywood types get rich off of continuing this desensitizing culture of violence. this is just a gun problem? it's get to be looked at holistically and bottom line this is a mental health problem. we have to look at everything. >> that's what's so complicated about this moment for political leadership. how do you take sentiment, emotion, however powerful and however real and channel it into real action going forward as inevitably the emotion and the sentiment begins to fade? the one thing and i'm curious what chuck thinks about the president's personal commitment to this, we all know the president is a reader of rhine
hold neeber. the sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world. to establish justice in a sinful world. to what extent do you think the president is willing to spend capital on this to pursue that provision? >> we will see. i think it's easier to do something like this in a second term and he is more likely to spend capital on this because it is -- you can see this hit him differently. it hit him as a parent first almost more so than anything else. the sad fact about this story is how and i think we all did it in our own newsrooms. there is a routine to this. there will be this and this and why the heck is there a routine? that's what's wrong here. i think you felt the white house
get that for the first time and the president gave a speech that i thought did a great job at combining both mourning and galvanizing. it's a speech no president wants to have to give. president bush had to do it after 9/11 and we saw president obama do it. >> does he shake history here? does this become his signature? we will wait and see and i hope so. chuck todd, thank you. we will see you coming up on the daily run down. connecticut senator bloomenthal joins us. we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] with free package pickup from the u.s. postal service the holidays are easy.
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>> coming up next, our tribute to the victims of the tragedy that struck the community of newtown, connecticut and a special message from joe as where we go as a country. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] this is joe woods' first day of work. and his new boss told him two things -- cook what you love, and save your money. joe doesn't know it yet, but he'll work his way up from busser to waiter to chef before opening a restaurant specializing in fish and game from the great northwest. he'll start investing early, he'll find some good people to help guide him, and he'll set money aside from his first day of work to his last, which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade.
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or bleeding problems. ready to change your routine? ask your doctor about once-a-day xarelto®. for more information including cost support options, call 1-888-xarelto or visit goxarelto.com. your soups are so awesomely delicious my husband and i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head? can curlers! tomato basil, potato with bacon... we've got a lot of empty cans. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. . here in newtown, i have come to offer the love and prayers of
a nation. i am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow nor can they heal your wounded hearts. i can only hope it helps for you to know that you are not alone in your grief. that our world too has been torn apart. that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. we pulled our children tight. >> last night, president obama went to newtown, connecticut to try to put into words the unspeakable events of last friday. >> this is our first task. caring for our children. our first job.
if we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. that's how as a society we will be judged. >> 26 people were killed in the massacre at sandy hook elementary school. six adults including 29-year-old rachel davino who dressed up in costume and broke out in song to help children learn. anne marie murphy who helped students be from the hail of bullets. she dreamed of becoming a teacher, even making a set of dolls her first classroom. mary sherlach was the psychology who helped children deal with life's terrible challenges. when the first shots were fired, she and school principal dawn hochsprung headed towards the danger. they reportedly lunged at the gunman and tried to overtake
him. 27-year-old teacher vicki lee soto died trying to protect her students. >> her father was identifying vickiy's body and was just told kind of how she was found protecting her kids doing instinctively what she knew to do. >> the gunman's mother nancy lanza was the first victim shot by her own son in their own home. the killer himself, adam lanza whose mental health and motive in this massacre will be debated for years to come. but nothing will bring back the babies. 20 first graders murdered in a terrifying two minutes as lanza shot up the school with two pistols and a semi automatic assault style rifle, all registered and performed legally in his mother's name. all of the children were first graders.
avielle richman and wyatt were 6 years old. charlotte bacon was wearing boots bought for her for the holidays. daniel barden was on the skim team and played soccer. she was a great big sifter to her baby brother. josephine gay just turned 7 on tuesday. anna marquez-greene and her family moved there two months ago, choosing the school for a good reputation. this is home video of her singing with her brother last summer. ♪ amen ♪ dylan hockley was also 6. he loved the trampoline in his back yard.
matlin hsu always wore bright flowery dresses. catherine hubbard had red hair and rosy cheeks. her middle name was violet. chase kowalski always played baseball outside with his dad. jesse lewis at 6 was learning to ride horses. james mattioli was known for his 1,000 watt smile. grace mcdonnell went every morning it is to bus stop with her mom. emily parker was 6 and a budding artist who always carried markers and pencils. jack pinto followed football and at 6 already had a team and a hero, victor cruz. noah posner has a sister assigned to a different classroom and survived on friday. noah called her his best friend.
caroline previdi played soccer and hide and seek. jessica rekos was called the little ceo for the way she planned everything. benjamin wheeler's family moved from queens new york, to newtown connecticut for the promise of grassy lawns and good schools. that promise has been shatter and last night newtown prayed with the help of the president, but he knows there is no solace or answers, just pain. questions and prayers for the lost. >> let the little children come to me, jesus said. do not hinder them. for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. charlotte, daniel, olivia,
josephine, ana, dylan, mat lean, catherine, chase, jesse, james, grace, emilie, jack, noah, caroline, jessica, benjamin, avielle, allison. god has called them all home. for those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory. >> good morning. joe will have a special message on the recent events coming up,
but first a look at where things are standing today. we are learning new details about the timeline. the gunman, 20-year-old adam lanza was armed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and the rampage could have been worse had police not closed in quickly. pete williams has more on the investigation now. >> the horrifying sequence officials say begins friday morning. they don't know what time when adam lanza takes hundreds of rounds of ammunition and four firearms from his gun enthusiast mother and shoots her several times perhaps as she lay sleeping. before leaving he damages his computer. investigators are trying to retrieve what was stored. just before 9:30 he loads the guns and ammunition into his mother's car and drives five miles to sandy hook elementary, a place he knows officials say from his childhood and why he goes there to kill remains unanswered.
>> hoe had a relationship with the school. attended there and at least that's what i'm led to believe. beyond that, no. we really don't know a whole lot. >> relatives say his mother once volunteered there, but there is no record of that. he is carrying two hand guns and a bushmaster ar 15 style rifle with several high capacity magazines, each able to hold 30 rounds. the school door is locked so he blasts his way in, shattering a window. the sound of the shots alarms dawn hochsprung and mary sherlach and they are immediately killed. lanza turns left away from the school auditorium towards the kindergarten and first grade classrooms. he passes one room and heads towards laurien ro uss eau. he and 14 children are shot and killed. he heads to victoria soto's class. she and six children are killed
but six others are spared. rachel davino and anne marie are killed. he shoots himself in the head as police storm in. >> the bushmaster was used in the school in its entirety and the hand gun was used to take his own life. >> today as a nation we grieve and today we as a people feel helpless. helpless to stop the random acts of violence that seem to be getting less random by the day. maybe the geographic proximity of newtown or the fact that my children's ages average those of the 20 young children tragically killed on friday. but the fact that my second son has aspergers or the fact that too many other facts associated with friday's nightmare strike so close to home.
for me just like for you there is no escaping the horrors upon those children and teachers at sandy hook. the events that occurred in a short violent outburst on friday december 14th, 2012 were so evil that no words that i know of have yet been invented to sufficiently describe the horror experienced by 20 precious first grade students and the heroic principal, their anguished parents or the shocked new england town that will never be the same. there is no way to capture the final moments of these children's short lives or the loss and the helplessness their parents have to feel today. there is nothing they can do. there is nothing any of us can do to ease the pain this morning or to cause those children to run back into the loving arms of their family members this christmas season.
soon we are going to be watching the burials of these babies. we will hold the parents up in prayer and we will hold our own children tighter. as we thank god every afternoon as we watch our children walk off their school bus and into our arms. every american must know from this day forward, nothing can ever be the same again. we have said this before after columbine and arizona and aurora and after so many other numbing hours of murder and massacre. but let this be our true landmark. let newtown be the hour after which and the words of the new testament, we did all we can do to make all things new. politicians can no longer defend
the status quo. they must be forced to defend our children. parents can no longer take no for an answer from washington when the topic turns to protecting our children. the violence we see spreading for shopping malls in oregon to movie theaters in colorado to college campuses in virginia to elementary schools in connecticut. it's being spawned by the toxic brew of violent popular culture, a growing mental health crisis and the proliferation of combat-styled weapons. though special interest are going to try to muddy the cause in the coming days, the cause of this sickening mass shooting like the others is no longer a mystery to common sense americans and blessedly there more common sense americans than there special interests, even if it doesn't always seem that way.
i say good luck to the gun lobbyists. good luck to the hollywood lawyer who tries to blunt the righteous anger of millions of parents by hiding behind twisted readings of our bill of rights. our government obsesses of how to prevent the next 9/11 of how to launch from a training base or perhaps now is the time they start obsessing on how to stop the next attack on a movie theater or in the shopping mall or on a college campus or in our children's first grade classes. the battle we now must fight and the battle we have to win is for the safety and the sanity of your children and mine. and that is a war at home that we must win. of course this is not all about guns. it's not all about violent
movies or video games. but we can no longer allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good in this case and we must not excuse total inaction by arguing that no single action can solve the problem that will save our children. you know me. i am a conservative republican who received the nr a's highest ratings of the four terms in congress. i saw this debate over guns as a powerful symbolic struggle between individual rights and government control. you know what, in the years after waco and ruby ridge, the symbolism of that debate seemed even more powerful to me. but the symbols of that ideological struggle have been shattered by the harvest of violent mind-numbing video games and gruesome hollywood movies that dangerously desensitize
those that struggle with mental health challenges and add in military-styled weapons and high capacity magazines to that equation and tragedy can never be too far behind. you know, there is no easy ideological way for it. if it were that simple to blame hollywood or the nra or insufficient funding for mental health. answers could be completed in no time. i come to you with a heavy heart and no easy answers. still, i spent the past few days grasping for solutions and struggling for answers. daring to question my own long held belief on these subjects. i have always taken a libertarian approach to first amendment rights and gun collector's second amendment rights and i stood by it after columbine and aurora and arizona. those young men who slaughtered
innocence were crazy, after all and would have found another way to kill the victims if their guns of choice were not available. but last friday, a chilling thought crossed my mind as i saw the time square ticker over abc spit out news of yet another tragic shooting in another tortured town by another twisted son of that community. how could i know that within seconds of reading that scrolling headline that the shooter would be an isolated middle class white male who spent days on the computer playing violent video games. how did i know he had a mental condition and not a rational motive. how did i know the end of this story before the real reporting even began? i knew the ending of this story because we have seen it too often. i knew that day that the ideologies of my past careers were no longer relevant to the future that i want.
that i demand for my children. friday changed everything. it must change everything. we all must begin anew and demand that washington's old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. entertainment moguls don't have an absolute right to glorify murder and spreading mayhem in the young minds. our bill of rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military style high caliber semi automatic combat assault rifles with high capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want. it is time for congress to put children before deadly dogmas. it's time for politicians to focus more on protecting our school yards than putting together their next fund-raiser. it's time for washington to stop trying to win endless wars
overseas while we are losing the war at home. we have given up too much ground across america. we have seen too many school yards and shopping malls and movie theaters and too many college campuses. we must give no more ground. abraham lincoln once said of this great and powerful nation, "from when shall we expect the approach of danger? some transatlantic military giant step and crush us at a blow? never." the armies could not take a drink from the ohio river and make a track on the blue ridge in the trial of a thousand years. no, lincoln said if destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and its finisher. as a nation of free men, we will live forever or die by suicide.
for the sake of my four children and yours, i choose life and i choose change. it's time to turn over the tables in the temple and for the sake of our children we must do what's right. for the sake of this great nation that we love, let's pray to god that we do. >> and coming up, we have connecticut senator richard bloomenthal who spent 30 years working in law enforcement in connecticut before he joined the u.s. senate. he is also a father of four like joe. he joins us with a unique perspective on the events in newtown. we'll be right back. people love our potpourri parties.
use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement to professionals and parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. because what choice do we have? we can't accept events like this as routine. are we really prepared to say we are powerless in the face of such carnage? that the politics are too hard? are we prepared to say such violence visited on our children year after year after year is the price of our freedom? 25 past the power where the flags are at half-staff.
back at the table. senator, thank you for coming in. i know you have been in newtown all weekend and called this moment transformative in terms of several debates we are having. why don't we start with the most difficult one. i want to not only hear about this being a transformative moment, but what do you think is truly possible to come out of this? >> i think it is transformative. i think it will spur and change the debate and national discussion beginning with the president's statement last night. what joe just said so powerfully and eloquently and my colleague said earlier in the show. they are really very, very powerful signs that we have entered a different era. i have come with history in law enforcement and i'm hearing for my colleagues and former colleagues. we need to do something. >> we come to this with history in connecticut with a family in
connecticut and four children. as you mentioned, a career in law enforcement serving as the attorney general to the state. i covered it when i reported there. if i can first talk about the personal part of this and the town of newtown itself which is so beautiful and so strong and so broken right now. then we will get back to politics. >> i think newtown will heal. it is a strong and i have brand town bound by countless relationships that are deeply rooted. i have been at the vigils and the firehouses and people there are resilient and resolute. it's the quint essential small new england town and beautiful as we have said. i think that what i'm hearing from folks is we need to do
something. the assault weapon ban and the ban on high capacity magazines and mental health efforts. we need to do something. in new and across the country. >> what are do you think is possible and will have an impact that we can see in the future. there is a lot of ideological arguments about gun control and guns and you look at the reality and you get into the debate and it can go on forever with nothing. >> i advoit voicated a federal ban and then i defended it in court when it was challenged. it can be revived at the federal level and that is practical and feasible. with the change and high capacity magazines that were so key to the slaughter.
the massacre in newtown. of course mental health efforts are within our grasp if we are willing to commit the resources. you can have the best laws, but they need to be enforced and we need the resources to enforce them and people would be killed in far greater numbers but for the heroic response of the first responders. the president did what only a president can do, telling the people they were not alone in their grief and talking about how these tragedies must end. it was a moment that we see once every so often. george w. bush after 9/11 and the pile of rubble. bill clinton after oklahoma city. ronald reagan after the
challenger accident. talk about the president and what he did last night and how he did it. >> it was a moment in the life of the country. an epic moment in his presidency and his life as a parent and a president clearly. i agree with senator blumenthal that this moment will not be diminished by time. it's not going away. >> no, it's not. >> partially because as we spoke earlier the three numbers that are critical. 20, 6, and 7. 20 victims, the ages 6 and 7 years of age during this holiday season of ours. the other reason it's not going away is the touch of a hand. every parent out there, you don't hold your child's hand the first day in high school or the junior prom or going off to college, but you have a clear
memory of holding a child's hand at 6 and 7, of walking them to the bus stop. >> you have done it seven times and i have done it four times. the senator has done it four times. as a parent, these are our children. >> these are our children that we failed. we failed them. >> we can't fail them again. >> the last time i looked, when the constitution and the bill of rights were written, there was no internet. online gun sales account for a horrendous number of guns in this country. is that a start in is that possible to get control of that? >> getting control of the sales and proliferation and the ar 15 that was used designed for combat. the adaptation of a combat arm
that sold on the internet that can be deadly, but your point is right. i think this moment which we have an obligation to seize is the result of the ages of these young people and the powerfully distinctive memory that everyone has as a parent of saying goodbye in the morning and those kids were going to be making gingerbread and learning abcs and i saw the parents at the firehouse and the anguish and the pain is something that will never leave my mind. >> part of it has to be rooted in something the president said. he said they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. with all due respect, they were in the right place at the right time. they were in first grade. >> they were in first grade which is where they were supposed to be and they were killed by someone who never
should have been there. never should have been had access to the school with that weapon, but the point is as they said to me, if they were confronting somebody armed in that way with multiple magazines filled with 30 rounds each, enough to kill probably everyone in the school and then some, they would not have been able to stop him. they would have been killed. because he was so heavily armed and armored. i think the call to action here has to be something consistent with the second amenitiment. we are not taking rights a away. if you are a hunter, you have every right. someone who wants to go through the oversight system that exists for buying weapons, doing it face-to-face and properly documented, no rights will be taken away and the second
amendment, i'm a constitutional advocate like you are. first amendment with clear rights. we need codes and conduct and oversight and enforcement that matches the gravity and we have to see it. >> first amendment is not absolute any more than the second amendment is absolute. >> or any other amendment is absolute. >> i will say, the thing that mike talked about the president connecting in a human way last night, we had shootings happen in his administration. four where he had to do this and he gives a great speech. it's different last night because it was children. there was a toughness to the things the president said about action. he said i'm going to use whatever powers my office has to make it an urgent priority. a political question of the senator. things have changed a lot in the last 20 years with the amount of time since the nra flexed its
muscles and their seats, things have changed. even in connecticut, a very democratic state in this town. very, very mild restrictions on shooting were defeated, tabled. just earlier this year. this is hard still, right? talk about in the united states congress as a political analyst, how much have things changed, democrats in world districts and some republicans can be moved to do something more dramatic than what was defeated in newtown earlier this year in your very blue state? >> a key question. there were firing ranges used by the lanzas and gun stores in the vicinity. i think the point here is that there is a real opportunity for common ground.
both sides have a common stake if the pendulum swings and there is an opportunity now to do something common sensible and reasonable and a 30 round magazine for a combat style weapon & bearing those bullets when which ripped them apart and up to 11 of them in some victims. that has noplace in our society. the president said a state of these shootings. there may be opposition, but
whether it's the nra and we don't need to talk about specific organizations, but one of them is based in newtown itself. the organization that i work closely with in trying to establish common ground back in the 1990s and the early part of this century. there is an opportunity. >> there is an opportunity. you see a guy who is a-rated by the nra for years. i was a-rated four times. a lot of other people. i think democrats and republicans look at this and say enough is enough. an oregon mall to colorado movie theater to you don't have to be
sherlock holmes to pick up the trail here. this trail is leading to your front door. this trail is leading to your community. this trail is leading to your children. we have to do something about it, senator. >> there people who are in the right place, exactly where they are supposed to be who become victims whether it's going to a movie or attending classes or worshipping. >> worshipping. exactly. >> it has to be a combination of measures. no single law will do it. there is no panacea here. >> it's not just a gun issue. it is a cultural issue and a mental health issue. thank you so much for saying that and thank you for along with the president and so many others bringing comfort in any way you can to the people of newtown and sandy hook. god bless you. >> thank you very much. up next, they were the first
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. first responders who rushed to the connecticut school that day, witnessing a scene that left them struggling to cope. nbc has their part of the story. >> as a community grieves for the victims, first responders also cope with the unspeakable loss. the men and women who arrived at sandy hook elementary first, who witnessed the carnage and chaos are suffering too. >> they saw the devastation that no one wants to become in their lifetime or in their career. >> for unfolded so quickly, responding within minutes of the first shot, chris was inside the school and could hear police closing in. >> we were all in panic and praying and hoping and waiting for signs. >> the quick response running
heards the gunfire saved countless young lives. >> no question about that. >> what are veteran police officers witnessed here could haunt them forever. this sergeant was one of the first to arrive at columbine. >> there was anger towards the perpetrator and what just happened and sadness for the vehicles and the families. >> in this tight knit town where police, firefighters and neighbors all grieve together, there is both heartache and help. karen was a grief counsellor in newtown. >> it is possible for them to heal, but this has been an ever changing life event. it will not be the same for anybody. >> first responders will never forget this tragedy. the victims could have been their children. the family who is lost so much are their neighbors. >> this is forever in our memory bank. forever touched. forever touched. >> grief shared by an entire community and tonight heartache
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to show support for handy hook elementary. 6-year-old jack pinto was one of his biggest fans. cruise wrote pinto's name on his cleats for tribute and posted pictures of his cleats on twitter with a message. today's game is for you, jack. >> cnbc's brian sullivan. your community has been touched before. virginia tech grad. obviously the horror visited on that campus a few years back, this seems all too familiar and yet the shock takes it tragedy to a whole new level. >> a loss of a parent of a 9-year-old and i know you guys have kids and a lot of our guests and viewers obviously have children. the news hits and all you want to do is leave your work and
drive home and pick up your kid from school and give them a hug. i was selfish with my daughter's time this weekend and hogged her to myself and me and my wife kind of ice cream for breakfast and try to do the best we could. i was actually on air on a different network broadcasting live when the virginia tech headlines began to cross. there was two and four and it went up. i was also broadcasting live during 9/11. you felt sort of -- it was so big. you felt anger. once you realized what happened, it was different. virginia tech obviously was long gone, but it's my school and i knew the hall ways and the buildings and the facilities and the dorms that were being referenced. i understood the magnitude of what happened and let's not forget nicky giovanni gave that
beautiful eulogy at virginia tech. we are virginia tech and it's worth a watch on you tube. you can check it out. i think about it and i get choked up. after that happened we all said we are all virginia tech. we are all hokies. i think today and this morning, we are all sandy hook. these are children. these are kids. i want to send my thoughts and from cnbc and from the hokey nation, i think i can speak for them a little bit. we are all sandy hook today. >> thank you so much, brian. we appreciate it and that's the thing. we all think back to 9/11 and think back to virginia tech and we think back to columbine and all these tragedies as a nation. >> we think back to the worst things ever. >> the worst things ever. you can somehow sort through those tragedies.
good morning. for those of you traveling, rain will be an issue all up and down the east coast. it will be almost icy in portion was central massachusetts, but boston is 45 degrees. new york city 55 with off and on lighter showers and the same for washington, d.c. atlanta with a couple of thunderstorms and detroit with highs around 44.
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take support and take a hard position going forward. republicans and democrats alike. it's more incumbent on the president, but he has to make good on his promise to use the office to move the needle on this. >> what are did you learn? >> along the same lines, i hope some day we as a country can make this something real and tangible on a number of levels and the best thing we can do right now is love our children the best way we can. >> and demand action. demand better. our children deserve better. it's time to give that to them. after sandy hook, we have no other choice. chuck todd is next. this is the fourth time we
have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mad shooters. the fourth time we have hugged survivors. the fourth time we have consoled the family of victims. we can't tolerate this anymore. these tragedies must end. and to end them we must change. >> good morning from washington. monday december 17th, 2012. this is "the daily rundown" and we take you live to a briefing by the state police in newtown. s soon as that begins, we will be there live. it will happen we expect in about a half hour. first the latest developments in this terrible tragedy. the nation is mourning along with a connecticut town after 20 first graders, 6 and 7 year ols were gunned down with their teachers and principal.